Monday, January 11, 2010

Past Performance is No Guarantee

If you've done any investing at all, you've seen this warning,

"Past performance is no guarantee of future results."

It's so true. It's true in investing, and it's true in life.

In investing, they are warning the investor that if something has done well in the past, it is not wise to assume it will do well in the future - based on that fact alone.

In life, we all too often, expect that things will never change. When it does, we are sometimes offended!

In my work, I have heard the same stories over and over again. (As a person, I've lived many of them myself!)

He said he would always love me... but now he doesn't.

She said she would never, ever divorce, but now she wants to divorce me.

We've been friends for years, but now he is not interested in hanging out.

She 'used to' enjoy spending time with my family... but now she hates it.

He said he didn't want kids, we agreed not to, but now he is threatening to leave if we don't.

He used to be willing to stay home with me every night, but now he wants to go out all the time and is mad that I won't go.

We used to work out together... but now he is a couch potato.

It seemed like they'd be together forever, but they broke up. How could this be?

The fact that we humans get so 'surprised' when people and circumstances change... is sort of amusing to me. In a dynamic universe, where growth and change are the laws of the land... why should we believe that anything will remain constant? It violates the laws of the universe.

People break promises.
People change their minds.
People grow and change and alter their directions in life.

We seem to have a mindset that this is somehow wrong. Is it? Or is it just that we want to count on people and things never changing to give us a sense of security?

Obviously when people make commitments, they should take them seriously, at least in my humble opinion. Yet, sometimes people make mistakes, or they change in ways that we might not appreciate. We can be devastated by this, or we can accept that it is part of the human experience.

We should never accept being treated poorly or with disrespect. We have a right to voice our objections and walk away from such treatment.

To expect people to stay the same forever and to feel the same way about things forever, is unrealistic.

Allow people to change and grow. Embrace your own change and growth. Find a way to accommodate and adjust. Leave things behind when you have to, but don't be shocked by evolution.

If we stop being 'shocked' at people's behavior changes (both good and bad) we get ourselves on more even footing to deal with what confronts us.